Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day to Night

Did you know that an artist is so powerful, we can change day into night?   Yes, its true!     This past spring when out hiking, I took photos (imagine that!) of the creek behind my home.    Like it often happens, when I look at the photo later, meh, its not as grand as I thought at the time.  But I did like the composition of the photo; the lay of the land, so to speak.   So I thought this would be a good time to try an exercise I'd been thinking of....

I wanted to use a photo that no longer seemed so worthy,  and making it work in some other way.   I set out to change either the season, palette or time of day.   I did some thumbnails and then put the photo in black n white on my computer so I could concentrate on values, not colors. 

In this original photo, I mainly liked how the creek drew the eye into the landscape.   But being Spring, it was too much of the same green, the trees were boring and the sky completely washed out.  I decided I wanted to add the mood of a moonlit evening, complete with fireflies.

"Firefly Dance"  9x12 pastel  $150.
  Its not easy changing the day to night!  It really stretched my artistic eye, but I think it turned out well in the end.  I will try this idea again in some way.    It could open up many new ideas, letting me add my own 'self' into the paintings rather than just being a copier.    It was just a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What a Ride!

Yup, I've been awol again...but for good reason!   I was very fortunate to have a visitor for a couple weeks, Ray Ainsworth.   He had been teaching me some long distance horsemanship and decided to come stay!   My horses and I thank him deeply, as his teaching is easy to understand and its a kind way to work with horses.  
We learned so much in such a short time!   He loved our little part of the world and it was fun listening to him almost daily say "oh wow, just look at that!" as we drove around, going to someone's place to help more horses.   An amazing time that won't be forgotten!  Now to put those lessons to use!  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Plein Air Season!

Some of the paintings from the DeSmet Event.   The one on the far left was my winning piece.
Long ago I'd feel guilty at being outside all day long, and not doing any art or studio time.   But when I did stay in, eww, I want to be OUT!   So plein aire to the rescue!

Plein air...."painting outside from life".   Perfect!   And even better is a plein air event where I can see other's works, talk art and just have a great time painting somewhere new.  

One of my fav's is DeSmet.   This year was great!   I painted 9 pieces total, and one demo on Saturday.   Then the show on Sunday was quite exciting...I shared the award of Artist's Choice with my very good friend Connie Gisi.    She's taken up pastels just recently and her piece was outstanding!   How fun is that!?   We camp together in our vehicles, and our dogs wrestle for hours.   A great way to spend the weekend!

The next weekend had me running like a crazy lady, the 2nd Annual Sketch Crawl in Sioux Falls.   I've never done one of these, and didn't know what to expect.  Fun, that's what to expect!   Another day having a blast with artist friends and my sketching tools.    I was exhausted, as we had 5 hours to do 5 locations (pre-determined by the organizer and gave us maps), then show our sketchbooks by 3pm.   whew!   That was SO not in my norm; I generally go for quiet nature scenes and here I was, downtown amid the hustle and noise, doing urban scenes!   In pen/ink, walnut and black both, plus watercolors.   But it was great to stretch myself in this way, and made for a good nights sleep too!  
the last sketch--just feet into the Falls park!  I only had one hour left!

The 2nd and 3rd sketches
Sketch one and 2.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Back to the Easel

While out riding, I am always on the hunt for reference material--a cloud, a grouping of trees, animals;  just whatever makes me take pause and I snap as many photos as I can.   Nowdays I generally use my phone, as I dont' want 'great' photos anyhow.  

This is one of those days.  I was riding with a friend, and this little spot always catches my eye.   She noticed it too!  

Its the level B road going to a neighbor's place.   As usual, I did change a few things, but had a lot of fun painting it.  It flowed pretty easily and quick, and I think its finished.  It will get a snazzy frame and come along with me to the DeSmet Paint Out in 2 weeks.   
Road to Robbie's; 7x12 pastel   $120

Monday, July 24, 2017

So Much Going On!

Cantering along!
Look at those ears!

 Hello to you All!!

I've got so much to say, so much has happened lately! 
First, I did it!   I rode a real endurance ride!   On a real endurance horse!   I was honored by a friend who asked if I would like to ride her experienced gelding, Seth.  What a ride, what a strong, forward happy horse!   I was happy this horse was ok just tagging behind my friend on her mare.    I learned more on this one ride than I would've in a long time of simply reading or figuring it out on my own.   A huge, heartfelt thank you to Laura Hayes, and Seth.   This team is headed to Tevis, a very tough 100 mile ride held in California.  Good luck to you both! 

Laura and Seth on a previous ride.
As this event was coming up, I spent much more time riding than painting.   It happens.   Then when I got back to my art, ugh!  It was awful. I struggled.  This shows me how important daily work is.   I had been doing simple ink sketches and one tiny plein air but it wasn't enough.   I needed a kick start!

So,  a couple nights ago I spent a long time, into the wee morn even!, going thru my digital photo stash.   Its been dreadful hot, so I just won't bother with much plein air and I am happy to have all these photos.   After a few hours I had saved, deleted and edited.   I am still going old-school on lots of stuff, and sometimes I still print out photos.    I really like to print them 9-up, sometimes of both the raw and edited versions.   Then it makes it pretty easy to pick out a paper and get working very quick; leaving no room for procrastination!   

For this small work, I had brushed off the previous effort, it was a stinker.   I flipped the paper upside down to visually 'mess up' the image, and started something from my new print out.   Much better!   I was pleased with this one finally, it expressed the mood I was after, its all about the light.    This scene was near my home, while out riding one evening.  
Beanfield,  7x9 pastel;   framed $100.

Monday, June 5, 2017


As most are, I'm getting pretty busy with all that summer brings.   I still want to make sure I get in something artistic, and often! 

I recently wanted to try a fountain pen again.  I've had another but I somehow didn't warm up to it enough and it went dry--then I ruined it by cleaning it improperly.  Yea me.  

So I went looking and found this one that was very inexpensive but had a good rating.  I love this thing!   Its got a metal body and feels so royal!   Its just fun to use, so I've been doing some ink sketching.   Its hot and buggy, so standing too long isn't a good idea; and ink sketch can be PDQ...Pretty Darn Quick!    It came with ink that washes with water, so I'll be switching to another waterproof type (trying Noodlers this time), as I like to put a color wash on after inking.  

I also got my first Moleskin sketchbook.   Its tiny, and I do like the paper.  But the cost makes me feel like it can only be used for 'Official Drawings."   Whatever those are, and when they might appear?   Can't answer that.   Yeah, I have a bit of sketchbook fear.   gasp!    and I actually am more fond of the paper in this tiny Derwent sketchbook.   

I did manage to paint a small piece based on a cell phone photo I snapped while walking the dogs, and memory.   I especially like taking a photo to use that day, that hour!   There is a more plein aire flavor to it, dont' you think?  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summertime is Busy time!

I always thought empty nesters were just saying they were busy to feel important. Ha!  Wrong again!   I am swamped with things going on.  But all of them good!  Like these...

"Boundless" 10x16 pastel on sanded paper SOLD
A big thanks to SD Art Museum in Brookings.   They accepted 5 paintings for the retail shop and sold one before it hit the wall!   That's how I like it!  Thanks!
They also have a large assortment of my soaps too, so stop in and stock up!

I was able to attend my friend Jan Sohl's artist reception in Sioux Falls.  Fantastic work by a fine lady.  

Piper Art Gallery in Sioux Falls accepted a 3 new paintings, and I also left 2 for the Weathered exhibit in Sioux Falls.  

Whew!   That was just on Thursday!
24x30 Summer Solstice;  pastel
This one is part of the weathered exhibit, along with a smaller painting.  I got a sneak peak and its going to be a great show, stop in to the Center for Western Studies, it'll be worth your time!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Exciting News!

I am proud to announce that two of my paintings have been chosen to be in an upcoming exhibit!  May 22-August 25th, here's the link for the rest of the information.   

Weathered: The Northern Plains Landscape as Shaped by the Elements

 top "Summer Solstice; 24x30 pastel  
lower "Winter Squall; 6x9 pastel (plein aire)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Paint out Demo-er!

The date for paint outs are getting finalized, and I am super happy to tell you that I will be one of the demonstrators at this year's Harvey Dunn Paint out, in DeSmet SD this August.

This is a great painting adventure, the people organizing it go thru a LOT of work to make it nice for the artists; a nice venue to show and sell on Sunday, lots of water and fruit during the event, a fun gathering on one evening, and plenty of things to keep a painter busy!    Its been one of my favs!

So this year I'll get the added fun of sharing my love of pastels with anyone who'll come to the shelter area at 12:30.   

Last you heard from me, I was getting ready for a workshop in Mitchell.   It was a great success, 8 people joined the class and it was fun hearing some 'oh!  that's how that's done!'   Of course, as usual, I got so involved I didn't take   Yeah, yea me.   But the store where I held the class did, and were real great about the whole thing.   Thanks Crafty Fox!  

On another note, I have just gotten in several new frame mouldings!   I am now carrying several in-house styles, so get those projects you've had sitting around, waiting for 'some time', get them done now and display your artwork and photos!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Getting Ready!

I am spending a good amount of time getting myself in order to teach the workshop THIS Saturday, wohoo!  

But I don't skip out on my daily hike very often, and instead of painting inside, I have been doing some little nature sketching instead.     While the dogs run around after mice and rabbits, I grab a hunk of ground and my itty-bitty sketch journal and relax.  

Everything is brown this time of year, so I used walnut ink in a waterbrush, ink, and a white gel pen for highlights.    I have no idea how long I spend at these, the time just slips by with the breeze.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last Chance for the Workshop!

I have decided this will be the last week for signing up for the workshop.   I will need to know just how many to plan for, so I can be sure to give each student all I can in one short, but very full day of class.   The price is $60 for the one day class, on Feb. 25th, 10-5 in Mitchell SD.   Last day for registration will be Saturday, Feb. 11th.   What a great Valentine's gift that would make!

On another note, one aspect of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge is having a lot of new work in a short time!   I tape them to the wall in the studio, its kinda fun seeing them all together like this.

Wouldn't one of these be a great Valentine's Day gift?   A very "original" idea!   Gift Certificates also available, if you would rather let your special person pick out their own.

If you're interested in one of these, the cost ranges from $35 for the smaller b/w sketches, up to $100 for the larger paintings.   Framing is also available!    Contact me at to purchase.

Monday, January 30, 2017

One Week Left!

There is actually less than one week left to sign up at the early-bird price for the workshop.    Check out the Classes page for more info!

I am now going full steam in preparations for the upcoming workshop.   The class is small, and there will be tons of information you wont' want to miss out on! 

And I'm winding down the 30/30 challenge, its been fun but very intense at times.   Doing a painting daily, even small, really makes me stretch and learn and try new things.   It pointed out where I am wasting time too! 

When I went driving last evening, I also came across this old farmstead.   I always wonder what it was like living in such places in their prime, and how sad to see them all crumbling now.    I am intrigued with old houses and barns, I don't think I'm alone in that though!
 5x7 graphite on tan drawing paper  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rebel with a Cause

I've been doing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge and its coming down to the last days.   There are so many good things to come of doing such a thing, but one thing isn't so hot--it does take the time I need to work on outside paintings.  

In this case, since I never claimed to be one to follow rules, and the main idea behind the challenge is to work daily, not so much making some complete work daily, I am taking the next day or ? to work on this collie.   So I'm breaking the rules a bit, but eh, its my deal anyhow, and I said at the beginning I wasn't going by any rulebook.    And I just gotta paint this collie now!

I don't usually show my works-in-progress because, well, if it bombs, doing so publicly is worse than even doing it alone!   But since I'm pretty warmed up, I am willing to chance it!    And, all paintings seem to go thru a really ugly, nasty, maybe-it-won't-work stage, not something that  is often the best idea to show off!  

so here goes.... first I sketched the basic outlines and shapes onto my velour paper.  

I  put in the darkest areas first, then a few mid tones, and a few highlights;  doing this helps me keep on track of my values.   I'm stopping here tonight, the left ear done and some of the left side of Sprite's face is about there.   I have the base in for the right ear, and allll this hair, long beautiful hair!   Is it wrong to be jealous of a dog?  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

February 25th, Mitchell SD workshop

Hello!    I've been working hard at my daily paintings for January.    And planning for the upcoming Techniques in Pastel workshop I am offering on February 25th in Mitchell SD, from 10 til 5.   

This is a workshop for those who'd love to give pastel a try.   No huge list to buy for this class, no way!   This class is about using some of what you already have, getting a few things extra, and I am sharing some of my own things as well.   One thing I get asked a LOT is "I don't know where to start, what to even buy!"    Or worse, those who've gotten some pastels and haven't used them.   

We'll go thru what materials are available, and attributes of each.   We'll discuss organizing all these lovely colors into a working palette that's easy to manage.   A bit of time will be spent on ways to take your pastels outdoors for some plein air fun, and how to get those finished pieces home safe and sound.   Framing will also be discussed;   many demos and hands on experimenting. 

There is only a couple weeks left of the early registration, after February 3rd, the price goes up to $60.   So get signed up now for the early price of $50.    Limited class size!  

This class won't be offered again for quite some time, so now's the time to get those pastels out and get dusty!  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Material List for the workshop!

I've gone to several workshops, and each one has a materials needed list.   Its usually a pretty hefty list but normal for working in pastel.    I'm a confirmed pastel-aholic, so that's ok with me. 

But at first, how do you know if you'll buy the right stuff?  Its not cheap, and nobody wants a bunch of stuff you'll never use.  

Well this is your chance, as that is what this workshop is for!   On Saturday, February 25th in Mitchell  I will show you all sorts of papers, pastels, techniques and tools that make pastel work with you.   So the time for the big splurge will be AFTER the class!    Saving you the cost of the class itself.  

This is the class for those already working in other mediums with some level of comfort.    Much of that previous skill you can bring to the easel, I'll help you transfer that to working in pastels.  

I will email you this list and the day's schedule when you register.  And sign up by Feb. 3rd to save $10 off the cost, only $50 for early registration. 

On another note....the last day's effort in my January 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.    See my facebook page for the daily updates!

"Moon Walking" 8x10 pastel on uart500   sold

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Yippee, 2016 is done!   And to ring in the new year, I've signed up for another 30/30, starting today!    This time, I am not worried if I make Fabulous Art;  I'm doing this one for fun.  For ME!   Some days might just be trying out some new idea I have, some scribbles on paper, maybe even just chosing a color scheme for a painting I have in mind.  

But today, I drove down an old dirt road and just had to finally stop just anywhere--my area is so rich with ideas, sometimes just picking one thing, right now, is tough!

                                                   6x9 on grey wallis sanded paper.  

Having my tiny little sketch box is turning out to be great fun!   No longer am I worried about cold, wind or snow!   I do hope to get in as many plein air pieces in for this 30/30 as possible too.    I spent time to prepare, which made all the world the last time I did this challenge.  

And, I have set a date for the upcoming one day class on Techniques in Pastel!   I have a limited class size so sign up right away to be sure you get a spot!